What do you serve to guests at a garden party during an oppressive heat wave?
Cool, clean, crisp rose` – and plenty of it!
Sixteen intrepid neighbors toured my wife Mary Lee’s daylily gardens over the weekend as temperatures sizzled. Buoyed by glasses of chilled rose`, no one wavered or wilted. The daylilies – all 450 varieties – stood splendidly colorful and erect.
Later, the daylily-trippers returned to air-conditioned shelter and dined on platters of grilled meats, chilled shrimp cocktail, “charred” vegetables with dip, skewers of tomato, mozzarella and basil, homemade baked beans, and several pasta salads. Blueberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream waited in the wings.
Through it all, we drank bottles of six different rose`s from France, Spain and Washington State. These easy-drinking, refreshing wines – light, fruity and dry – paired perfectly with the foods and provided great enjoyment to a hot summer day.
While I prefer dark-colored pink rose` with enhanced flavors, the popular trend among winemakers is to produce paler – almost translucent wines – of more subtle yet persistent fruit tastes. Crafting rose` has become an art form in many global wine regions, where different grapes and styles deliver a host of interesting choices. And consumers have responded by pushing annual sales in the U.S. market to record numbers.
Here are several garden-party specials for you to consider.
Chateau Minuty “M” Limited Edition Rose` 2018, $15.99 – Bottle art beach scenes of St. Tropez, designed by artist Ruby Taylor, grab your attention for this Cotes de Provence blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. This is Minuty’s second vintage and it’s now available in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, where it’s on sale at the listed price. Early arrivals got to drink this pale pink rose` and it didn’t last long. Dry as the Sahara, it remarkably livens up the palate with bright peach and orange peel flavors. One cool sip reflexively leads to another.
Gerard Bertrand Cotes des Roses Rose`, $11 – From France’s Languedoc region, this 2017 Grenache-Cinsault-Syrah mix is offers a fruitier frame and more fragrance. It’s a fresh, mouthwatering rose` of red berry flavors and a trace of grapefruit. A hit with the cold shrimp and salads.
Ribeira Sacra Caino Rose` 2018, Spain – What a surprise treat, brought to the party by
Craig Gandolf, the national wine director at Cynthia Hurley Wines in Needham where this limited-quantity rose` is available ($25). Caino is a red grape from the Gallicia region. This wine is fermented on its lees for three months in French oak before bottling. It delivers intense strawberry and bitter citrus notes along with crisp acidity. Its smooth yet firm texture pleasantly stayed the course with the grilled meats.
Bieler Pere Et Fils Sabine Rose` 2017, Provence, $12.49 – The Bieler family has been making rose` in this heartland of Aix for decades and this is a beauty for the price. Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Rolle make up the broad blend, which produces raspberry, cherry, and peach traits.
Healy Rose` 2018, Walla Walla Valley, $28 – A Bledsoe Family Winery specialty (only 1,000 cases produced), this deep orange and salmon-colored rose is fermented in French oak, Italian concrete and stainless steel. The varietal profile is a secret, but the rich, fruity tastes of strawberry, pear, peach, and orange peel hint at Syrah, Grenache, and Pinot Gris. Well made with balanced acidity.
Julia’s Dazzle Rose`, Columbia Valley, $18.99 – From Long Shadows Vineyards in Walla Walla comes this unique-tasting Pinot Gris rose` that is full of orange orchard aromas and peach cobbler and strawberry flavors. The color is orange-and-copper toned, helping to produce the elegant bottle’s golden “dazzle” effect when in the sunlight. Previously sold only to LS club members, it’s now sold in New Hampshire.